Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday (tomorrow)

Dear Lucas,

I'm beginning this letter on the day before your first birthday. I intend to write a letter each year to reflect on how much you've grown. I expect it will take me quite some time to write this one, since the mere thought of you being a year old makes my eyes well up, and a lump creeps up in my throat. 365 days. 52 weeks. 12 months. I can't believe how quickly it has gone by! So much has happened in the past year, too!

You were born right around the same time that we opened the skate park. You were there for our official Grand Opening, and you made an appearance in a few local newspapers that covered the event - your first media attention! Then we celebrated Auntie Steph & Scott's wedding in Dartmouth. You were such a trooper, getting dressed up in that handsome little white pinstriped suit. Next was our mini road trip to Auntie Keri & Uncle Kyle's wedding. Nana & Auntie Jeanne came with us to help take care of you. We all had such a blast. The weather was rainy, and you were a little cranky, but it was a wonderful time. Then summer was over, and in rolled the fall. Mommy & Daddy celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and Daddy's 27th birthday. You celebrated your first Halloween, as batman. Your first Thanksgiving landed right around the same time that you started eating "solid" food (mush!)so you enjoyed some turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce & mashed potatoes. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year! Then your first Christmas was very eventful. We went to Thedie's for Christmas Eve, then to Meme's house for a sleepover. We had breakfast with Meme & Pepe, and opened some presents and then were off to Uncle Billy's to celebrate with Nana & Pa. We rang in the New Year at home with Heather, Matt & Adrian. 2010 has been full of firsts for you! You learned to crawl, and pull yourself up. You finally started holding your own bottle, which Daddy was very happy about. You also started using a sippy cup, and eating "big boy" food. We celebrated the births of Jaxen and Alexandria. Uncle Bobby graduated from high school.

The last year has been a blur of wonderful memories. I have enjoyed watching you grow more than you could ever know. Each stage of your development has had it's favorite parts for me. When you first came home, I loved how you would open your mouth when you were hungry, just like a baby bird. I called you baby bird for a few months. You were so long and skinny! You lifted up your head from day one, and the look in your eyes when you see Mamma or Dadda, has always remained the same. Pure joy.

Your kisses have evolved over the past year. They started as open mouthed licking on cheeks. Then it turn to the typical open mouth to any skin. Now your kisses are more deliberate. You snuggle right up, nuzzle in, and then rub your lips all over my face. I've never been more happy to be covered in slobber. Your dancing has also evolved over time. You began with a little wiggle, then there was the full body rock, then the head bang, and now it's various combinations of the two.

My favorite time is picking you up after work and driving from the skate park to our house. You blow me kisses, tap your belly, tap your head, dance, sing. You pull everything you have in that bag of cute tricks, and it's exactly what I need after a day of work. You know how to brush your teeth, your try to brush your hair. You've been pulling yourself up to a standing position using Daddy, and your activity tables. You've gone swimming at Nono's pool, where you wanted nothing more than to splash, lounge and to like the water off your fingers.

Your relationship with your "DAHHHHWWWWGGEEEEE" is the best thing in the world. You love Spooky with every single inch of your heart. You give her more kisses than she can handle, and she does her best to return them all. You love playing with her tags, and you have for as long as I can remember. I swear that her tags were one of the first things you ever reached for! Your newest obsession is crawling under the dog, like a tunnel through her legs. She's been patient with you so far, but I'm waiting for the day that something scares her and she tramples your little body! Who am I kidding, you are a tank. You're one tough little guy!

You've been to work with Daddy at least a couple times each week. He built you a play room in the office, so you can enjoy yourself. You've come to work with Mommy occasionally too, and Anna and Jackson adore you. You love crawling around after them, and giggling at their antics. Speaking of that giggle, you have the best laugh. No one can be mad, upset, or in any kind of foul mood once you start laughing. It's the cutest thing. You have biggest smile, with 6 big teeth! Yup, 6! 4 on the bottom and 2 on the top. You are cutting a couple more as we speak.

I'm not really sure how to describe to you how much you mean to me. I grew up knowing that I was destined to have a family. I was born to be a mommy, but that doesn't mean I was 100% confident in my parenting abilities. It's one thing to take care of other people's children, it's entirely different to have your own. I've second guessed myself the entire way through. I always think I might be making the wrong choices, but you always have a way of reassuring me that we're doing alright. You look at me and give me a big "haaaaaaa, mama" with a smile. Or you screech at the top of your lungs and come crawling toward me with fierce determination to plant a kiss on my face. You look at me, smile and tap your "belly" (you always pat your chest when we ask where your belly is). Honestly, I think this is your way of saying "I love you, too". (Just fyi, typing that sentence made me cry for a solid 5 minutes...)

My heart could burst with the amount of love, pride and joy you bring to me. Each day is a new adventure. Whether its running errands, or a big event, or even a day at home, there is never a dull moment with you around. I wouldn't trade a single second of it for the world. You and your Daddy are the best family anyone could ask for. I love you with all of my heart! Happy Birthday, Lucas Matthew. May this one set the bar for many more wonderful birthday celebrations!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Am I middle aged? Uh... not quite.

I often try to help John & Bob with skate park stuff, as much as I can. I'm not much help aside from maintaining the website, facebook, and lurking the internet for mentions of the park. Mostly I stay logged on a hardcore messageboard that is comprised mostly of teens & young 20somethings. I look for anything skate park related. While I'm only 26, I feel like a dinosaur when I poke around this messageboard.

Today there was a thread about middle-aged moms, and the things they do. It was pretty much a bunch of angst-ridden parasites bitching about things that their mommys do that piss them off. Oddly enough, I found that I am guilty of a lot of those things. I thought it would be fun to make a list...

1. Own a big ass SUV/minivan when you old have one kid
guilty, but I do nanny for 2 other kids, so i need room for 3 carseats
2. Get a triple bacon cheeseburger with supersize fries... and a diet coke.
guilty, but I honestly can't stand the taste of regular coca cola
3. Have their food sent back because a minor part of the order was wrong.
I've only done this a few times, but of course I would. I work hard for my money, I'm paying for a service. I expect to get what I'm paying for
4. Attend avon/pampered chef parties
Well of course. The few products I've purchased, I've loved. And there's always free food!
5.have like 40,000 reusable grocery bags, and carry them everywhere.
Yep I do. I keep Lucas' laundry in them. Anytime I need a bag, i use them.
6. get their kids names tattooed on them, usually on their ankle or somewhere stupid
Not guilty yet. But once I've ahd all my kids, I plan to have a large piece somewhere, that will be created with them in mind. Shoot me. Being pregnant is no cake walk. Child birth is no picnic. I've earned the right to show my affection in whatever way I choose. Thanks.
7.use insane amount of coupons at the grocery store and hold up the line for 15 minutes
Wait until you have to work for a living. And feed others. You will inconvenience the Dali Lama if it means you'll have a healthy happy family
8. they talk during movies and gasp at scary or violent parts.
This infuriates John. I don't know why I do it.
9. Refer to their friends as "girlfriends"
No real explanation. Just do
10. Wear "shants" during the summer on the reg.
It's hot out. my legs are not really in shape for shorts. this is the best option
11. Listen to terrible top 25 radio stations
12. Run the gamut of reality TV competitions.

To think... about 10 years ago I was totally on this message board, as a teen full of angst and would have been arguing about how ridiculous all these things are. And now I do them all, and can justify most of it. I'm not embarrassed. I just find it funny how my world comes full circle.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

This may seem silly...

There is no worse feeling in the world than having a sick child. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, a terrible ear infection accompanied by a terrible cough & runny nose is not teh end of the universe. However, in this moment, I feel completely helpless. There is nothing I can do to help the poor little guy, aside from giving him his antibiotics, and keeping eye on his temp/pain and medicating accordingly. I'm also not a fan of over-medicating children, so I only give ibuprofen/acetaminophen when I feel its absolutely necessary. I hate this feeling. He coughs until he gags as he falls asleep and I just want to cry. I want to snuggle him and rock him to sleep, but he won't fall asleep that way. He just gazes into my eyes, for hours. Which I'd much rather, but I know he needs rest and sleep to beat this infection. This is one of those times where you would give your right arm to trade places with your child; to take away their pain and absorb it yourself. I'd go through the pain of labor every single day in lieu of him having any kind of pain. It will be a long night for me...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So much for turning my day around

Mission "Turn this day around" was a miserable failure. Treadmill didn't quite happen. I got lost in a very moving episode of Dr Phil (note the sarcasm). I got so wrapped up in this episode that I lost track of time, and then it was time for the kids to get up. Oh did I mention that it was an episode I'd already seen!?!? Ugh.
So anyway, the kids get up, and we decide to skip painting since it's nice out, and we play in the sprinkler. I'm enjoying my book and I realize... hmmm John hasn't called back to tell me that Lucas is awake. I was waiting for an update about his fever, which was low-grade when he woke up. I think it was at like 100.4 or so. No big deal, I figured it was because he's teething. Well I call him and he said Lucas was not awake yet, and up bubbled a bit of that maternal instinct. I wanted to tell John to wake him up, since he'd been napping for 2 1/2 hours and he usually only naps 2 hours, and he was due for another dose of tylenol, if needed, an hour before that. But, I felt guilty telling him what to do. He is Lucas' father. He takes very good care of him, and has only Lucas' best interest at heart. So to save myself a potential argument, or to save John's feelings I said nothing. John said he'd rather let him sleep, as he's obviously not feeling well. I had no valid argument for that, who's to say which was the better course of action?
Well, I got a frantic phone call 20 minutes later saying that Lucas' temperature was 104. That's right 104. I was panic-stricken. "GO! Take him to the ER. I'll call Bob and tell him you can't come into work, then I'll make arrangements to meet you there". It's now about 4:45. I call Bob, he's extrememly cooperative. I call my boss, and she jumps on the 5:00 train. (Mind you, she had to sprint to the train to make it there!)I told her that I was going to call a neighbor to give them a heads up that if I felt I had to leave they may need to take over for me. Then my cell phone died. SERIOUSLY?!?! So I pack the kids in the car, and go to the Verizon store to buy a charger because GOD FORBID I buy a universal charger that actually works. NO no, i get an error message that sais "not an authorized charger blah blah blah". So after a 20 minute wait to get the stupid charger, I finally plug the phone in - nothing. No texts, no missed calls. I rush abck to the house, feed the kids, and at 5:55 my boss pulls in and I jet. I called Lori, thank goodness for her, to talk to me on hte way to the hospital to keep my mind occupied. I made it back to Milford in record time (under 30 minutes). I run into the ER where I have to wait in line for 25 minutes to be buzzed into the ward.
And there is my little baby. He's sitting on his Daddy's lap, looking about as miserable and pathetic as I've ever seen him look. He has red eyes from crying, and no color in his face. But one tiny hint of a smile at me, and I think he's never looked better. All the way to the hospital all I could think about was worst case scenarios that are too scary to even put into words. To see him sitting up, breathing, and showing any kind of emotion was more than I could take. I scooped him up from his Daddy and snuggled his burning little body. He was so hot. We laid on that gurney for hours, as nurses came to take his temperature over and over again. Before I arrived they had already determined that he had a sever ear infection, and had taken a chest x-ray, which came back clear. We just had to wait until his fever was controlled, under 101, to go home. Around 8:30 we were discharged and I began a frantic search of area pharmacies for generic Infant Tylenol, thanks to the recall. No one had any - just Children's strength. Sooo I asked a pharmacist if there was a way to dose children's tylenol to infants, and wouldn't you know she had a box of infant's strength behind the counter. I was so happy, I bought and ran home. Oh wait... the dosing on the box is for ages 2+, despite it being INFANT STRENGTH! Ugh... so then it was telephone tag with the urgent care pediatrics office before I could even give him a dose. It was an hour late. I was panicky. They told us to wake him ever 4 hours for tylenol and every 6 hours for motrin, and to give him both throughout the night. So, we were essentially waking him up every two hours. He was a trooper though, and when we took his temp again at 8:30 am it was back to low 100's.
I'll tell you, there is no worse feeling than being stuck somewhere when your child needs you. I realize that John is perfectly capable of handling the situation, and Lucas is lucky that one of us is able to be with him always. However, it doesn't change the gut wrenching feeling I had yesterday. Today, I need to just relax and snuggle my boy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I know I'm having a rough, long, frustrating day when I hear A singing this song, and it infuriates me:

"Sally can do, and midge gets a boo, ahh bib-uh-dee, bob-uh-dee, boobie".

Seriously, this makes me mad? What is wrong with me! I need a nap, or a glass of wine, or something. Tonight, I wish it wasn't going to rain so I could sit out back, light a fire and enjoy a nice glass of wine or something. No such luck.

On a more positive note, my frustration stems from a positive milestone. John and I are officially out of debt. (This does NOT include our very low car payment and mortgage of course). No more student loans. No more credit cards. No more collection calls. Done & done. It wasn't easy, and I'm not happy about the timing of it all, because things will be very tight for a while. But, at least it's done.

Next mission: Turn this day around. Put the kids in their rooms for rest time, do a half hour on the treadmill, then shop online for Lucas' first birthday gift. My baby is going to be one year old exactly one week from today. AHHHHH!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tonight's ride home soundtrack was provided by the talented guys that call themselves "Paint It Black" -- And look out, Yemin. Lucas is totally going to take your spot as most attractive man in hardcore someday. At NEARLY 12 months old, I can tell you that he will be some steep competition if he keeps heading in the same direction.

I find it funny that of all the types of music that John and I have exposed Lucas to throughout his months, he has taken to the type we both enjoy most. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that he has taken to the type we both MUTUALLY enjoy the most. I can't say I have a favorite genre, and I know John can't pinpoint one either, but most of our mutual musical interests like in the hardcore realm.

Lucas bobs his head, slaps his knee (or chest), and yells his little lungs out. Sometimes he even clenches his little fists when he gets really into it. I wonder if this is instinct or learned behavior, since I know I do all of those things. Either way, I wouldn't trade our ride home routine. It's the best. My neighbors must think I'm nuts because I sit in the MINIVAN with all kinds of random music blaring for a good 10 minutes every night when I get home. I bop around, dancing and singing. It must be quite the sight. Tattooed mid-twenty something, with disheveled hair, preppy hand me down clothes from her boss, in a minivan, dancing and singing various age-inappropriate songs to her *almost* one year old son. Eeep. I would totally make fun of myself!

Summer, Summer, Summertime...

Summer is here. I love summer, and this summer brings all kinds of new joys. Driving home from work last night, I got out nearly an hour early, I jumped off the highway at the first exit that brings me to the skate park. Granted it takes an extra 10-15 minutes taking this route, but I just wanted to roll down the windows and enjoy some throwback pop-punk solo sing-along time with my buddies in Yellowcard. I love the ride, through Franklin, Bellingham and on through Mendon. I love the air blowing my hair all over the place, especially since my passenger window actually works now. I had a quick dinner with the hubby, while Lucas finished up his dinner in his chair. I played with him from across the room, prompting him to run his yucky hands through his cute little humidity induced curls. Then it was time for my favorite part of the day (most of the time), the ride home. It's just me and Lucas. Since I broke yet another Mommy rule, and turned his car seat around to forward facing a couple weeks early, I can peek over my shoulder and see his big toothy grin. I rolled down the windows, turned up the radio and began the ritual. While I back up out of my parking spot, I dance back and forth, with some strategic abrupt dance freezes that make him squeal and giggle. We enjoy a dance and sing along with the likes of Billy Joel and James Taylor, and to answer your burning question, no I'm not ashamed. I love them both. We dance and sing and make our way back to our humble little home. We pass families parking their cars, and setting up camp at the drive-in. I can't wait until we are one of those families. When I get to the last set of lights, I turn around to make him giggle, and my heart sink a little. This is the only time I wish we lived a little further from the park. We pull in the driveway and sit, parked, singing and dancing for at least one more song. We always do. Then I do the quick exit routine that makes his day. I turn off the car, grab my purse and dash around to his side of the minivan as quickly as I can, and pop my head up in his window. More giggles. By this time, he's usually tired and just wants his bottle and to snuggle and go off to bed. But last night, to top off my wonderful summer night, Lucas' schedule had been pushed back a bit so I had a couple hours to play. I opened the garage with the intent of taking him for a walk, but Daddy had the stroller in his trunk, so instead we went inside. Played, and played. And man does this kid babble. He babbles his little head off his shoulders. He does crawling laps around our living room, bouncing from toy to toy, always with a sand toy in his little fist. He crawls to where I'm laying on the couch, pulls himself up to standing, plants a big wet licky kiss on my cheek (or wherever it may land) and continues his pattern. I could spend days like this. Weeks, months even. I love it. Unfortunately I had to work at 5:45am this morning, so by 8:30 Lucas and I were in my bed, snuggling with his na-nite bottle, and he was off to bed by 9:30, after his tickle fight. I miss him terribly already. I just want to squish his cheeks, and wait for those slobbery kisses that I love so much.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Born to do this?

I never use this thing anymore. And why would I? I mean... I don't share it with anyone. I more or less use it to sort through my own thoughts, or to get out some kind of passive aggression. All seems a little silly to me, really. It is, however, nice when I'm more consistent so I can go back and remember how I was feeling in certain situations, at certain times in my life. I must say that in college I was an avid "live-journalist", for better or for worse. I really enjoy reading those old posts, aside from the fact that they are so god-damned cryptic that I can't even decipher them half the time.
At any rate, a lot of people I know with mommy blogs have been talking about their "fail" moments as mothers. I have to laugh at them, because BOY do my failures Trump theirs. I mean... seriously?
Well for one, there's the mom guilt of working. Everyday is a struggle. I'm emotionally drained when I come home, only to find that my little munchkin has grown leaps and bounds and usually has mastered some new skill. I feel like I'm never there for any "firsts" unless I control when they happen. (Like first time eating certain things... etc). That's the ultimate feeling of failure. Missing out. If I had a choice, I'd be a house-maker, and I'd be home everyday with my babe. But I don't live in that world. I live in a world where I am the wife of a struggling small business owner, who works every bit as hard as I do, but doesn't get any compensation for it, yet. I live in a world where mortgage, car insurance, car loan, utilities, and other various payments have a tight grip on me. So I do my best to keep afloat. I do what I feel is best for my family, unfortunately that leaves me with a huge feeling of doubt. Am I doing the right thing? Who the hell knows, sure as fuck not me.
Back to the topic, since that's not really a blatant failure but an overwhelming sense of dread. I have had MANY mommy failures. Like the time I let my son smoosh strawberry yogurt up his nose and in his eyes. Good job, Mom. And then there was the time that we ventured out to S & J's house for a cookout, and I got lost in the adult conversations (since my life lacks adult conversation most of the time) and completely neglected to see that my son was eating fistfuls of dirt. Nice, Mom. And how about the time I nearly FORGOT my sleeping son in the car. Yep, that's right. I did. I came home from god-knows-where and Lucas was sleeping in the backseat. I had to pee SO bad, so I grabbed his diaper bag, my purse, and few other odds & ends and dashed in the house. I went pee, and proceeded to walk to the dishwasher, open it, and THEN realize that THE BABY IS IN THE CAR! What an asshole. Seriously... I spend 100% of my time at work worrying about what he's doing, if he feels like I neglect him, yada yada yada, and yet I FORGET he's in the car because I have to pee? Needless to say, I ran out there, less than 2 minutes had passed, and there he was. Sleeping peacefully. Not a care in the world. And there I was, bawling my eyes out in the driveway, cursing myself for being so stupid. Wonderful, Mom.
Oh and then there was just last night, when I brought Lucas up to his nursery, only to find that Daddy had taken the sheet off his crib to wash it. I called for him to come up and help me (I'm too short to reach the mattress...pathetic). So he comes up, and I plop Lucas on the floor of his own bedroom. Should be a safe place, no? Well we struggle the stupid fitted crib sheet onto the mattress, and tag team the shit out of that bumper pad, and his crib is ready for him in under a minute. And what did Lucas manage to do in that minute... wrap the cord from his monitor around his whole body, including his neck. While it was plugged in. Yup. In under a minute I managed to let my child potentially electrocute and strangle himself. Awesome, Mom.
I also tend to break EVERY guideline and rule set in front of me. I use bumper pads, despite their "lack of airflow". I let Lucas sleep with us for the first few months. I let Lucas swim in his kiddie pool without a swimmy diaper. I let Lucas roam about the house, despite the fact that it's not 100% baby proof. I moved his car seat to forward facing 3 weeks before his first birthday. I introduced nearly every food "too" early. He's eaten strawberries, blueberries, eggs... all the things I SWORE I would hold off on. I let the dog kiss him - on the mouth. He loves it.
So, am I a terrible mother? I guess only time will tell. But I can tell you this: When I come home, and snuggle the shit out of that wiggly little munchkin, and tickle him until neither of us can breathe - he sure doesn't seem to hate me. In fact, his big wet "kisses", snuggles, headbutts, and other signs of affection seem to tell me otherwise. Maybe I'm doing just fine.